Let’s start with a speed round first! Welcome, M.S. Spencer!
Oxford comma, yes or no? Yes!
Ice cream (favorite flavor)? Fudge brownie
Coffee or tea or wine? Champagne
What does your desk look like? Actually not bad today
What is your writing vice or must-haves ? A view
((oh I love that answer! I agree with that one!)
Describe a perfect writing day. Getting what I wanted to say down on paper
Favorite childhood book? The Wizard of Oz
Inspiration…Top: Chablis, France. Bottom: The U.S. Capitol.
For the Love of a Spy is set in 1991-1992. Why, you may ask. Well, you could call 1991 a pivotal year for world events. The year 1991 saw the beginnings of normalization of Vietnam’s relations with the rest of the world and a summit on apartheid in South Africa. Operation Desert Storm made quick work of Saddam Hussein’s army in Iraq. Albania saw its first free elections since 1945. By the end of August the collapse of the Soviet Union was all but complete, with country after country declaring their independence (the USSR was dissolved in December).
But the tides of history didn’t stop there. The Arabs and Israelis met to discuss peace for the first time in Madrid in October—leading to the secret talks that culminated in the Oslo Accords. Also in October (I think I’m hyperventilating here) the Paris Peace Agreements ended the Vietnam-Cambodia conflict. Finally, North and South Korea signed a non-aggression pact in December.
So you can see how a CIA fixer—a jack of all trade who can troubleshoot potential crises—would have his hands full. It didn’t give him much time to woo his one true love.
When Maris Graystone, author of the political column The Scrivener, and the mysterious Michael Kinder, meet, sparks fly. Their love affair intensifies against the backdrop of the dramatic world events of 1991. Michael appears and disappears at unpredictable moments, leaving Maris limp and lovelorn. Looking for safe harbor for her emotions and her body, she accepts the advances of a dashing French diplomat.
Torn between the luxury and comfort of Émile and his chateau, and the romance of international intrigue with Michael, she must choose…but which one?
Excerpt: Escape from Reality
They had been in the country for five days when Émile took her to lunch at l’Étoile, a little family-run bistro in Chablis. As they finished their andouillettes—grilled sausages for which the bistro was famous—Émile took her hand. In a solemn voice, he said, “Mignonne.”
“Oui, Monsieur le Comte sans Merci?” She liked to tease him. After all, Émile would have been a count in fact, had his father not relinquished the title in the 1940s. Having pet names for each other wasn’t anything to be concerned about. Surely not.
“The week is nearing its end, Maris. I must report to the Ministry on Monday. We are booked on the train to Paris tomorrow.”
“Train? What about the Jaguar?”
“I cannot keep a car in Paris. The Jaguar stays here.”
“Oh.” Maris had had just enough champagne to find it difficult to focus on the conversation.
“Maris! Fais attention. We shall go to the flat in Paris—”
“Flat? You didn’t mention an apartment.”
“Yes, I did,” he said patiently. “I told you. My family has always maintained a flat in the ninth arrondissement. My parents have given it to us. They doubt they will need it again.”
“Us?” Did she sound as stupid as she felt?
“Well, to me. To us afterward.”
Maris shook her head to clear it. “Afterward.”
Émile evinced a rare flash of irritation. “I mean, as I assumed I didn’t have to tell you, after we are married.”
Maris closed her eyes and felt herself sliding slowly off her chair.